The Bohol District Jail (BDJ) has prohibited Fr. James Darunday from entering its premises banning the priest from officiating mass inside the facility where he has been chaplain for seven years, as sanction for unwittingly bringing contraband to the jail.
According to BDJ warden Chief Insp. Felipe Montejo, the decision was made by the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) disciplinary board in line with its policy, after Darunday brought to the jail 50 packs of cigarettes and 93 bunches of dried tobacco leaves packed beneath biscuits inside a plastic box.
Aya, wife of Rey Gaco who is held inside the BDJ for drug charges, was also banned from entering the jail while all of the latter’s jail privileges including visitation were suspended, said Montejo on Tuesday morning.
It was Aya who allegedly handed over to Darunday the box of biscuits where the pieces of contraband were concealed.
She then requested the priest to take the container to her husband inside the BDJ.
However, Darunday already told authorities that he had no knowledge that the cigarettes and leaves were hidden inside the box.
He said that he had already known Aya prior to taking the biscuits from her.
According to Darunday, it was already the second time that Aya requested to have something delivered to her detained husband.
The priest said that he had already brought food to Gaco upon the request of Aya prior to the recent incident.
In an interview with station dyRD, Darunday said that he laments being barred from officiating Mass inside the jail but is not blaming anyone for what transpired and the authorities’ decision.
“Malipay ko nga wala na koy work load, pero at the same time malooy ko sa piniriso kay seven years, after my navy chaplaincy, akong gi-puli ng pagka chaplain sa BDJ.”
“My heart bleeds para sa mga piniriso ba kay na intimate na sab ang among relationship,” he said.
According to BDJ administrative officer Jumbo Abad, cigarettes and similar contraband such as tobacco leaves are considered as “nuisance contraband.”
Based on gathered reports, cigarettes are sold at much higher prices inside the BDJ compared to their regular retail value.
One pack of cigarettes is reportedly sold at P600 pesos while a bunch of tobacco leaves is priced at approximately P800. (Allen Doydora)